The IRS observes the Year of Jubilee

tax return

It’s the same feeling I get each year on April 15th.

And no it’s not the joy of spring.

I feel poor, I feel stressed, I feel like a debtor. Which is what I am.

Student loans. Mortgage payments. The ten bucks Alexa spotted me when I needed to pay something in cash. I am a debtor. This becomes especially evident when the IRS and I have our annual anniversary.

In my dreams, I would love for the Internal Revenue Service to observe the “year of Jubilee.”

In Tony Campolo’s book, The Kingdom of GOD is a Party, he describes, “All debts were to be canceled in the year of Jubilee. All land was to be returned to its original owners, and those who were in prison were to be set free. In those days, prison was primarily for debtors…” (p.18).

But as I startle from this day dream (just in time to put my properly postmarked envelopes into the mailbox), I don’t forsee the IRS picking up this Biblical requirement stated in Leviticus 25.

Could you imagine? What joy would erupt in the streets! Granted some CPAs would be weeping, but overall I think Jubilee would go over pretty well. However, such pardon is not the case with the IRS.

In fact, even the Jews never observed the year of Jubilee — Except for one Rabbi.

Jesus read for the hometown crowd a passage from Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” [61:1-2].

Campolo comments, “According to Isaiah 61, we are told when the Messiah comes, He will bring in the new economic order in which the poor will be delivered from all oppression and freed to live life to the fullest” (p.19).

As Jesus took a seat, he declared Jubilee, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21).

As the clock tells me that there are only 5 minutes left of April 15, I say “Preach on Jesus! Preach on!

encounter: After reading Luke 4:14-44, reflect on the following questions with others or on your own (of course you’re always welcome to post your reflections here):

  • As for money or favors, which of your debts would you want to be paid off completely today if it were possible? What would be your reaction?
  • The familiar chorus goes, “He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt, I could not pay…” As for your sins and salvation, what do you wish the Messiah of Jubilee would pay off on your behalf?
  • Describe what being “freed to live life to the fullest” means to you.

About A Allan Martin, PhD, CFLE

Jeremiah 24/7
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4 Responses to The IRS observes the Year of Jubilee

  1. lisahope says:

    this makes me think of galatians 5:1… “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

    to live in the reality of the year of jubilee as Christ pronounced, is to live in this freedom. how many times do i step into the freedom, bask in it for a few minutes (sometimes hours, and occasionally days), but then allow myself to be burdened again by the yoke of slavery (worry, stress, anxiety, the pressure to perform and provide, the demands of ministry…)?

    i am the poor, the prisoner, the blind, the oppressed… and Jesus has sent good news, proclaimed freedom and recovery of sight, and released the oppression in my life!

    thanks for the reminder of this joy and freedom that God went to eternal lengths to provide!

    Father, may i live in this freedom and not waste a moment of life being burdened again by the yoke of slavery….

  2. manny says:

    i had to smile as i read. it would be great if the IRS celebrated a year o jubillee. my cpa friends wouldn’t be happen, that’s for sure. but i also smiled as i read because i’m reminded of that chorus, “what can wash away my sin? nothing but the blood of Jesus!” i’m thankful i can celebrate with jubillee each day for i know that He lives and because He lives, i am forgiven. however, at times i fall slave to my sins, to my wants, which are necessarily good, et cetera. i, too, lisa, want to live in the freedom that He gives, so i echo your thoughts, and i pray that i can take His yoke for it is easy…then, and only then can i yell it from a mountaintop, “i’m free…”

  3. aamphd says:

    In this world, joy is something that needs to be claimed. Joy is something that Christ alone offers in the sense that–given our reality, our humanity, and our destiny apart from the Savior, there really can only be despair or denial given our condition.

    Without Jesus based Joy…
    Happiness becomes a facade we play or a phantom we chase after.
    Excitement serves only as a momentary thrill, an adrenalin fix to distract.

    In contrast, the Joy of the Lord, provides power for circumstances both favorable and challenging. To have Jesus proclaim Jubilee offers hope for the debtor, the poor, the oppressed. It offers hope to me.

    It also offers courage…
    courage to live in a broken world, knowing Who will make things right
    courage to live among enemies, knowing Who is on my side
    courage to live amidst failures and fragility, knowing Who is STRONG

    May I live in the reality of His joy and share it liberally.

  4. samza says:

    I like julibee-diamond verymuch

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